Thinking Inside or Outside the Box… Where are You?
By Terry H. Hill
Interestingly enough, as a small business owner, "thinking outside the box" is precisely
the behavior that inspired you to set off on the entrepreneurial path in the first place. The
tough challenge is sustaining your original visionary mindset.
Once the company is up and running, most of us spend a great deal of time “inside the
box” immersed in the daily activities of running a business, conventional thinking, and
accepted practices. The trouble with thinking and living "inside the box" is that it is
counterproductive to jumpstarting your business, motivating your employees, and delighting your
The term “thinking outside the box” is frequently used in today’s rapidly changing
business environment, and for good reason. Thinking "outside the box" is a metaphor for creative
thinking. Creative thinking is a mental process that involves the generation of new ideas or concepts, or
the generation of new associations between existing ideas or concepts. "Outside the box" thinking is the
ability to step back and shrug off the confines of the traditional modes of thinking. It is viewing things
from broader perspective.
Why step outside of the box? To better position yourself to create, to renew, to solve, and to change.
When you think "outside the box," you call upon your sense of vision, and imagine the best possible
outcome. You must think "outside of the box" so you can place your business into more favorable
positions. Ultimately, by thinking "outside of the box," you gain a greater competitive advantage.
How do you step outside the box? It starts by shaking off preexisting notions, opening your eyes to
all of the problems and possibilities from an unbiased perspective. It requires you to open up and to
reach out to your employees and advisors. Use brainstorming sessions to help to stimulate new ideas
and concepts. Utilize a team approach to implement the new ideas and concepts into the day-to-day
activities. Empower your employees to make decisions in their areas of responsibility.
Copyright © 2007 Terry H. Hill
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An author, speaker, and consultant, Terry H. Hill is the founder/ managing partner of Legacy Associates, Inc., a business consulting and
advisory services firm. By signing up for Business Insights from Legacy eZine at http://tinyurl.com/2t4fxs you can keep abreast of the latest tips,
tactics, and best business practices. You will, also, receive the free eBook, Jump Start Your Knowledge of Business. Contact Terry at